What is the process of constructing a childcare centre?

The process of building a childcare centre, even a small one, can seem daunting at first. The more you know, though, the better equipped you’ll be to handle everything that comes with constructing a centre from the ground up.

Explained below are some of the most important questions you’ll need to ask yourself when getting ready to construct a childcare centre. You’ll also learn more about what to expect during the construction process.

Does Your Land Fit the Requirements?

When you’re thinking about commencing the childcare centre construction, one of the first things to consider is the land on which the facility will be built on.

Not all land sites are suitable for childcare facilities, after all. By doing some research in advance, you will be able to avoid wasting time or money on land that is not right for your development.

Location

If you’re going to construct a childcare centre, you need to think about the location of the land, as well as its physical context.
 
Is it in a safe neighbourhood — the kind of neighbourhood where parents will want to bring their children?
 
Are there any potential hazards in that area — such as a risk of bush fires or floods, or land contamination?
 
Is it large enough for the facility, as well as parking, pick up and drop off locations, etc.?
 

Zone Considerations

You will have to take certain things into account depending on the type of zone in which you’re planning to build your childcare centre.
 
For example, if you’re building in a residential area, you’ll need to think about issues like acoustics, privacy, parking, and traffic. If you’re building in a commercial area, you’ll also need to consider parking and traffic, as well as issues like air and noise pollution.
 

Environmental, Health, and Safety Hazards

Childcare facilities should not be constructed in areas where environmental, health, or safety hazards are present.
 
For example, it should not be close to landfill sites or waste transfer spots. Steer clear of LPG tanks, service stations, and odour-generating sources and sites.
 

How Much Is This Going to Cost?

The cost of constructing a childcare centre varies based on a variety of factors, including the size of the facility, the location of the land, the materials used to build the structure, and more.

In most cases, the land is the most expensive part of the building process. This is especially true, if you’re building your centre in a large city like Sydney.

The price per square metre of land in Sydney is currently the highest it’s been in years — AU $1,501 per square metre. If your lot was 500 square metres, you would pay AU $750,500 just for the land.

As for the rest of the project, experts say that you can expect to spend between AU $600,000 and AU $650,000 for an average-sized childcare facility. You may spend an additional AU $100,000 to AU $150,000 on equipment, such as outdoor play structures.

It’s true that constructing a childcare centre from the ground up is not a cheap process. However, there is a high demand in Australia — particularly in the NSW area — for childcare centres, especially as parents begin to return to work in person.

You may have to put down a large upfront investment to establish your childcare centre. Over time, though — especially if you have a strong marketing strategy and build a reputation for providing quality care — you will likely see a significant return on your investment. As a result, you will find that the initial costs were worthwhile.

Getting the Right Kind of Advice

Your construction team — and your general contractor, in particular — are some of the best people to consult when you need advice during the childcare centre construction process. There are others you can turn to for support, though, including the following:

Government Documents and Resources

A good starting point is to review current government documents and resources regarding childcare planning guidelines, construction regulations, and land purchase regulations.

These documents can be lengthy and difficult to sift through. However, you shouldn’t let that deter you from consulting them. They also provide a lot of valuable and up-to-date information — as long as you’re looking at the most recent copies, of course.  

Current Childcare Centre Owners

You may also want to reach out to current childcare centre owners who built their facilities from the ground up.

Do you know of anyone who has recently gone through this process? If so, reach out to them and ask them for more information about the various steps they had to take and the hurdles they had to overcome.

These professionals can provide firsthand accounts of the situation. They can also tell you what they would do differently if they had to go through it again.

Childcare Centre Clients

If you know people who currently work with a childcare centre to care for their kids, talk to them about what they value in a facility and what kinds of expectations they have.

Having these conversations will give you a chance to figure out what you need to take into consideration when choosing a location for your centre — as well as building and designing it.

Getting the Right Kind of Advice

Designing a Childcare Centre involves a lot more than just picking out paint colours or choosing pictures to hang on the walls. There are a lot of other important factors to keep in mind, including the following:

Area Compatibility

The NSW childcare planning guidelines state that childcare facilities should be designed in a way that is compatible with the area’s local character, as well as the surrounding streetscape.

A well-designed childcare centre will contribute to the local area. This means it’s designed in character with other buildings — in colour, scale, materials, form, architectural treatments, etc. The landscape should contribute to the streetscape and the surrounding area, too.

Private vs. Public Spaces

When you’re designing your childcare centre, you’ll also need to include clear delineations between private and public spaces. This includes installing appropriate fencing to prevent children from leaving the facility, as well as windows that face the street and provide passive surveillance.

Accessibility

Your childcare centre should be accessible to people of all abilities. The following are some specific ways you can ensure this is the case:

    • All key areas are level with the ground or feature ramped pathways

    • There is a continuous path of travel into and within the building

    • Platform lifts are avoided whenever possible

You may want to consult the most recent Australian accessibility laws before you begin construction on your childcare facility, too. This gives you a chance to design your childcare centre properly the first time around and saves you from having to go back to the drawing board later.

Constructing Your Centre

When the design process is complete, you’ll be able to break ground and begin construction on your childcare centre. The following are some specific stages you’ll go through when constructing a childcare facility:

Pre-Construction

The pre-construction phase includes obtaining a building permit and getting insurance. There are several types of insurance that you’ll need to consider, including builder’s risk insurance, general liability insurance, and worker’s compensation insurance.

During the pre-construction phase, you’ll also assemble a construction team. This team should include a project manager, a contract administrator, a field engineer, and a site foreman, as well as the labourers who will handle the actual building processes. Your Project Manager will help you to handle all of this hiring.

Procurement

Procurement involves gathering all of the materials necessary to build your childcare centre. During this phase, the general contractor will draw up purchase orders and delegate various processes (such as installing glass or handling concrete work) to subcontractors if needed.

Construction

At this point, the construction team will move into the actual construction phase. This phase includes the following:

  • Site preparation: Implementing drainage, site clearance and excavation, arranging water, power, and sanitation lines, etc.
  • Laying the foundation: Concrete foundations are the most common
  • Structural framing: Building a metal or wood frame to give the centre structure
  • Roofing, siding, and HVAC: These elements give your centre a distinct look and ensure it’s internally functional
  • Interior construction: Installing insulation, setting up floors and ceilings, installing drywall, painting, putting up light systems, etc.

From here, the construction team will complete the exterior and set up all the utilities. They may complete the landscaping as well.

Post-Construction

The post-construction phase includes a thorough walk-through to ensure the facility was built to your exact specifications and the approved plans. You and your general contractor will handle this phase and identify any issues that need to be addressed before the project is officially wrapped.

Engaging a Reputable Builder

There are lots of childcare builders out there, but they’re not all created equal. You need to find a reputable builder if you’re going to construct a good childcare centre, and these tips can help:

Ask for Referrals

Asking for a referral can help you to narrow down your options and create a shortlist of potential candidates. Reach out to friends, family members, or colleagues who have recently constructed a building from the ground up to see which builder — if any — they’d recommend. 

Read Reviews

Reading reviews online is helpful, too. Look at third-party sites to see what people have to say about various builders in your area. This helps you to get a more objective view of the builders near you so you can see which one has the best reputation.

Check Credentials and Experience

Next, check each builder’s credentials and find out how long they’ve been working in this industry. Make sure they’re properly licensed and insured as well.

Get a Quote

Always get a quote from each builder you’re considering hiring. Keep in mind, though, that cheaper services aren’t always better services. Don’t let a low price tag cause you to settle for a builder that doesn’t know what they’re doing or doesn’t have a good reputation.

Childcare Developments - A Turn-Key Solution

If you’ve been confused about the process of constructing a Childcare Centre, hopefully, you now know more about what to expect.

Ask yourself the questions discussed above — and follow the tips included in this guide — and you’ll have a much easier time navigating the construction process.

If you need more help getting your childcare business off the ground, Childcare Developments Group is happy to assist.

Childcare Developments Group is a team of experienced developers who have established Childcare Centres all over the regional and metropolitan NSW areas.

We offer turn-key solutions and assist with all your building needs. From designing and gaining development approval to building Childcare Centres and assisting with childcare renovations, we can do it all.

Contact us today to learn more about our services.

If you need expert advice and information on how to own your own Childcare Centre, contact us today! 

Childcare Developments Group can help you with every step of getting your childcare business up and running. 

We will guide you every step of the way, from concept to completion.